Noises driving the town to distraction
Noisy neighbours and barking dogs are keeping more residents awake at night than ever before.
More Wiganers are complaining to the council’s environmental teams about noise pollution, with 1,252 reports last year, compared with 1,029 in 2014 and just 645 in 2013.
The noisiest area is Leigh with 251 complaints, followed by Whelley/Ince /Beech Hill/Swinley with 173 gripes.
Neighbours causing rows and antisocial behaviour account for 567 grievances, with barking dogs being the second most common cause at 317. The figures were revealed after a Freedom of Information request by the Wigan Evening Post.
Alarms was the next biggest annoyance, with 57 calls logged, followed by industrial blasts, with 37 issues. Loud music made residents angry 36 times, noisy traffic created 28 calls, with a further four complaints about off-road vehicles, and fairground fun generated 25 reports. Workmen drilling and heavy construction dins were the subject of 26 grumbles.
Cockerels were a cause of complaint for six residents and amazingly, only three issues were raised about fireworks.
Drunken rowdiness was the subject of just one complaint. The remaining 144 were not categorized.
Councillors say noise is one of the issues residents regularly raise with them.
Leigh South councillor John O’Brien, said: “You do find there are smaller pockets of noise around the borough. A few years ago there were complaints about church bells at Leigh Parish Church and there was an enforcement about rehearsals at certain hours.”
Wigan Central councillor George Davies said: “The main issue has been speeding traffic and noisy dogs. I just hope the residents curb their noise for other people living near them.
“We encourage people to slow down and keep within speed limits. This increases safety and also stops noise.”
Last May people living near the junction of Orrell Road and Shelley Drive, Orrell, complained to the council and Virgin Media about a manhole cover which made a loud banging sound every time a vehicle went over it.
They had been living with the din for two months, before engineers resolved the issue.
Will Blandamer, assistant director for reform and transformation at Wigan Council, said advice about excessive noise was simple.
“We would encourage people to be good neighbours and try and settle issues amicably first before involving ourselves or other public services,” he said.
“Noise that is excessive and unreasonable is a form of anti-social behaviour and can adversely affect someone’s quality of life.
“In serious on-going cases of noise nuisance someone could end up in court and fined up to £5,000.”
What Wigan Council can do to solve a noise complaint
Residents should complete a noise diary of how and when they are being affected by the noise. The council will contact the noise maker to make them aware that a complaint has been raised and provide advice on suitable noise control. If unsuccessful, it will carry out noise monitoring to determine if a statutory nuisance exists. If this is the case, it has various legal powers to resolve the problem. This may include serving enforcement notices, seizing equipment, and in some cases prosecution.
Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 allows individuals to take their own action in the Magistrates’ Court. The Court can issue an order requiring the abatement of the nuisance and can also issue a fine. Breach of an order is a criminal offence.